Facilities Toolbox: Security Tools
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What level of security is required for Forest Service buildings and sites?

Photo of a brick buidling with a green steel roof.
What is the appropriate level of
security in Harrisonburg, Virginia?

Forest: George Washington and
Jefferson
District: North River
Region:8

All Forest Service facilities face security risks, but not the same risks. Forest Service buildings and sites vary from log cabins accessible only by trail to District offices in small towns to research laboratories in urban areas. Possible threats range from tornadoes (natural events) to chemical releases (accidents) to theft of snowmobiles by joy-riding teenagers or even arson by ecoterrorists (intentional acts).

The threats (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) faced at each location are different, so the required security measures also differ.

The first step in addressing physical security requirements is to figure out what threats affect the site and how vulnerable the site is to those threats. The Threat and Vulnerability Assessments (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) section of the Physical Security Toolbox developed by MTDC explains threats and vulnerability assessments. The Physical Security Planning (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) section explains how to conduct a vulnerability assessment. A good starting point for a Forest Service vulnerability assessment is the report that should have been done on each unit in 1995 of building risk level and whether each structure meets the minimum security standards for that risk level.

Vulnerability assessment guidance is included in chapter 6 of the USDA Integrated Physical Security Standards & Procedures Handbook (Web site available only to USDA employees). Self-assessment checklists for offices, aviation facilities, cyber resources, and laboratories are also included in Chapter 6.

Vulnerability assessment tools are available from many sources, including FEMA 452—Methodology for Preparing Threat Assessments for Commercial Buildings and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Terrorism Threat Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool. The Physical Security Planning (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) section of the Physical Security Toolbox explains how to use assessment tools developed by others. Physical security assessments and design reviews are also available through the USDA Office of Security Services.

Once risk and vulnerability assessments are complete, the devices and methods that will provide security for a particular building or site can be chosen.